FRCEM OSCE: The ultimate guide for Doctors

The FRCEM OSCE exam is part of the final step toward the Royal College of Emergency Medicine (RCEM) fellowship. Candidates can sit FRCEM SBA and FRCEM OSCE in any order to obtain their fellowship at the Royal College of Emergency Medicine. In this guide, we explain the eligibility for applying for FRCEM OSCE, exam style, what to read, how to prepare, how to apply, and more.

Fellowship of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine (FRCEM) is a postgraduate award from the Royal College of Emergency Medicine for specialists in Emergency Medicine. Doctors can obtain fellowships by passing their MRCEM exams and FRCEM exams alongside the appropriate emergency medicine training. If you are looking for more information on the single best answer exam, you can review our FRCEM SBA guide.

All you need to know about FRCEM OSCE

Who can sit FRCEM exams?

The FRCEM exam is open to doctors who have MRCEM and have completed at least 12 months of in a UK or Irish training programme in emergency medicine at ST4/ST5 level. Non-trainees must have completed 6 years of training post-qualification, 4 years of which must be in emergency medicine and 1 year should be at a level above ST3/SHO.


What is the format of the exam?

This is a practical exam where you will be tested on your clinical skills while you examine a patient in front of an examiner. The FRCEM OSCE consists of 16, eight-minute stations. There are also two rest stations in the exam.

How much does it cost?

At the time of writing this article, the price of FRCEM OSCE exam is as follows:

  • FRCEM OSCE – £465

This price may be subject to change in the future.

How do I register?

Candidates must apply for the exam online, during the published application window. Applications will open at 10.00 am on the morning of the application opening date listed on the Exam Calendar and close automatically at 5.00 pm (UK time) on the listed closing date. Applications must be completed before 5.00 pm on the closing date, late applications will not be accepted.

If there are more applicants for OSCE exams than the number of spaces available, candidates will be allocated using the Oversubscription Criteria.

  • Candidates are allocated to spaces in the FRCEM OSCE examination in order of the following criteria:
  • Candidates in approved ST6 UK training post
  • Candidates in Year 7 of an approved Irish training programme
  • Candidates holding an employment contract with the NHS (which covers the examination date)
  • Candidates who were not allocated a place at the most recent sitting (on a first-come, first-served basis, if required)
  • All other candidates are on a first-come, first-served basis

Am I eligible to apply for FRCEM OSCE?

The FRCEM OSCE exam is open to candidates who have MRCEM after 2012. Candidates are required to have a certain level of experience depending on their training. Doctors in a UK or Irish training programme need to have completed 12 months of training in Emergency Medicine at ST4-ST5 grade. Non-trainees need to have completed 6 years of training post-qualification, 4 years of that should be in emergency medicine and at least one year at a level above ST3/SHO. Candidates can sit the FRCEM SBA and FRCEM OSCE in any order.

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How can I prepare for FRCEM OSCE?

Curriculum Preparation

Whilst books and question banks will have supported you through FRCEM SBA, OSCE is all about practical assessment and clinical examination. The best preparation is lots of practice. Picking up physical signs is crucial. Tell your supervisor that you are sitting OSCE, find the consultants within your hospital who are OSCE examiners or registrars who have passed recently so they can observe and comment on your history taking and exam skills.

RCEM FRCEM Final Examinations Information Pack – includes SLO blueprint

RCEM 2021 Curriculum

Form a group with other doctors who are sitting their FRCEM OSCE exam so you can share patients and practice delivering your findings out loud. This process won’t only enable you to pass but provide you with confidence in your examinations, be thoughtful when diagnosing, and be clear in your communication with patients and colleagues.

TOP TIP – Make mock stations with your study group or partner based on the curriculum to consolidate your learning.

Which skills are assessed?

The FRCEM OSCE examination is blueprinted against the 2021 Emergency Medicine curriculum. Not all of the SLOs are covered in every exam so it’s important to understand which SLOs are covered in FRCEM OSCE. Below are the 16 stations and the Speciality Learning Outcomes being assessed in each:

StationStation typeSpecialty Learning Outcome
1Complex stable patientSLO1
2Complex stable patientSLO1
3Complex stable patientSLO1
6Supervision and teachingSLO9
10Injured patientSLO4
11Injured patientSLO4
15Management or researchSLO12/SLO10
16Management or researchSLO12/SLO10

TOP TIP – Numerous accounts of the exam have mentioned a focus on teaching, complaints, and history-taking.


You must pass FRCEM SBA and FRCEM OSCE within 7 years of each other. Candidates can sit FRCEM SBA and FRCEM OSCE in any order. If you can start well in advance and try to practice 3 or 4 patients per shift, you should be able to run through the most likely scenarios within two months. Confidence is key so you should allow enough time to practice with a variety of people covering as many scenarios as possible so that you feel prepared.

It’s important not to assume or let nervousness negatively impact you on exam day. Make sure you take the time before each station to fully read and digest the task at hand. It’s easy to take a mental shortcut and assume you know what is being asked but be meticulous with your reading and formulate a plan for the scenario at hand.

FRCEM Courses Academy

FRCEM Courses Academy runs preparatory face-to-face and online courses for the Royal College of Emergency Medicine UK exams since 2017, instructors are enthusiastic senior emergency medicine doctors who are currently working in the NHS. They have a free YouTube channel that provides preparatory material for the MRCEM & FRCEM OSCE exams. 

Bromley Emergency Courses

Bromley Emergency Courses has been providing face-to-face and online Emergency Medicine and Ultrasound training for doctors since 2005. They focus on the MRCEM/FRCEM exams and Point-of-Care Ultrasound. For the FRCEM examinations, they have developed intensive short training courses based on a detailed analysis of the curriculum and extensive knowledge of the exams. They utilise a strong team of actors for OSCE courses and a high-quality teaching faculty.

FRCEM Master with Dr. Hani

FRCEM Master has an active community of over 60,000 members with comprehensive live teaching and real-clinical life scenarios focusing on the RCEM curriculum 2021 and high-yield questions. 

London Clinical Courses

London Clinical Courses is a team of Emergency Medicine consultants who are actively involved in teaching and training junior emergency physicians in the NHS. They all are currently working as full-time EM Consultants in London’s most prestigious hospitals and major trauma centres. They all actively participate in regional and departmental teaching of juniors and senior registrars and are fully aware of the Royal College of EM curriculum for assessing and training junior and senior doctors. 

Reading the room

When you walk into the station, don’t overlook anything. If there is any equipment or ques from the actor – it’s meant to be addressed as part of the examination. I’ve read many testimonials online where people have overlooked clues and props from hand gel to x-ray machines and lost marks in the assessment.

Top tips for revision

  • Practice, practice, practice.
  • Use your reading time before each station to make sure you fully understand the task, objective, and scoring on each station.

At Pulse, we’re passionate about the quality of our people and proud of the services we provide. You can arrange a call with a member of the team to discuss your career by registering today with Pulse. Our team are here to help doctors find great work opportunities in the UK. If you are a doctor and looking for Emergency Medicine locum or permanent opportunities, you can browse our A&E vacancies.

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